Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Placid Girl cover design

I'm so glad to finally be able to share the cover of my friend Brenna Ehrlich's debut YA novel, Placid Girl! Brenna and I have known each other since we were both under 3 feet tall, and have stayed friends since then. I was honored when she asked me to work with her on the design of her book, which she has decided to publish through her own independent publishing company All Ages Press. The cover was revealed on The Huffington Post last week!

After I read the manuscript there were a number of ideas that came to mind that I thought might capture the dark, suspenseful feeling of the story. The Keds evolved as one direction for cover imagery because in the opening chapters of the book the main character gets a new pair of Keds and purposely works to dirty them up. In some ways I saw this as a metaphor for what happens to the characters as the story progresses. Below, you can see some more cover choices I did for Brenna:

Included here is the original version of the Keds cover. We decided to rough it up more and make it darker to represent the ominous undertones of the story. Then we settled on a font and voila! we had a cover. I can't wait for the final book to be published!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Owl Calendar Painting

© Ashley Halsey 2014
I'm very pleased to have my painting be part of the Owl Lover 2015 Calendar which has been curated by Shivani of My Owl Barn. It is the fifth annual calendar created in collaboration with 46 artists from all around the world. From these 46 artists you can pick and choose which owl paintings you like the best and put together a free downloadable calendar!

I was excited to take part in this project and have an excuse to paint a Barred Owl. I love all kinds of birds, and raptors I find to be particularly arresting in their mystery. You can head over to my Etsy Shop to see another of my owl paintings - the Eastern Screech Owl.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Moving to Maine

Well, it's official! On October 19th I moved to Portland, Maine. After many months of doing long distance, I decided it was was finally time for me to go be with my boyfriend, who had moved here earlier in the year for a job. It was a big step to take, to leave my full-time job as a children's book designer and move to a new city, but I knew it was what I needed to do.

While I loved living in New York City, I always knew it wasn't a place I wanted to live forever. There are too many things I love that are harder to do in NYC than in a smaller city. I'm hoping to have time to get back to horseback riding, for example! I also want to spend more time in nature doing things like hiking, kayaking and maybe I'll even try skiing again. Portland seems like a fun and dynamic little city and I'm excited to explore more of it!

Above is my new little work spot in the apartment –studio– if you will, that I'll be at whenever I'm not at the Engine Room, a co-working space that I'll be working at a few days a week. I'm excited to keep book designing, but to also have some time to pursue my art and illustration further.

Stay tuned for more regular posts about my new life in Portland and the work I'm creating.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Illustrated Wedding Map on Style Me Pretty

Photo by Julia Wade

Last August I attended my cousin's beautiful wedding on Block Island, Rhode Island. I hadn't been to Block Island in many years, and it was even more charming than I remembered. The wedding itself was fantastic, and I had so much fun celebrating with my family members who could attend.
      As my gift to the couple, I created a custom illustrated map that they included in the welcome gift bag that each guest received upon arrival on the island.

Photo by Julia Wade

I worked with the bride to decide what Block Island landmarks to include, and which wedding locations needed to be shown. Being a map lover, I really enjoyed the creative process that went in to making this. So, I was very excited to see that when Julia Wade, the wedding photographer, submitted her photos to Style Me Pretty, her photo of my map was included! You can see the post here. I hope to have the chance to make more maps in the future. You can see some details of the map on my portfolio website.